May 21, 2018

Why being the first drug to market matters

Novartis CFO Harry Kirsch. Photo: Ruben Sprich/AFP via Getty Images

The new FDA-approved drug from Amgen and Novartis that treats migraines, Aimovig, is the perfect example of why being the first in line for any new drug approval is so important.

Why it matters: Getting out of the gate first and pricing below independent cost-effectiveness estimates may give the pharmaceutical giants the upper hand even once the other migraine drugs hit the market.

How it happens:

  • Eli Lilly, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Alder Biopharmaceuticals are each coming out with their own versions of similar medications.
  • Amgen set the list price of Aimovig at $6,900 annually (an amount that doesn’t reflect discounts or rebates), which was about 30% less than what Wall Street expected, per Damian Garde at STAT.
  • “The first-mover advantage for (Amgen and Novartis) will allow for them to frame the payer discussions and gain initial traction in the marketplace,” Vamil Divan of Credit Suisse wrote to investors.
  • Amgen will “ultimately retain 35–40% market share long-term” because it was first, and could lead to $1.8 billion of peak annual sales, Geoffrey Porges of Leerink Partners said in an investor note.

Go deeper: Researchers continue seeking new clues on how heredity may play a role in migraines.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 6,804,044 — Total deaths: 362,678 — Total recoveries — 2,788,806Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 1,909,077 — Total deaths: 109,497 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.

George Floyd updates

Protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 6. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Thousands of demonstrators are gathering in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds have assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make new changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct.

Why the coronavirus pandemic is hitting minorities harder

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The coronavirus’ disproportionate impact on black and Latino communities has become a defining part of the pandemic.

The big picture: That's a result of myriad longstanding inequities within the health care system and the American economy.